Did you ever try to lose weight this year? Maybe some of you succeeded, but for most of us, what seems like a good idea at the beginning falls off our list of priorities.
New Year’s resolutions are much the same. Do you remember those resolutions you made 9 months ago? If you are like many people, you may have trouble even remembering what you resolved to do. If so, here’s a hint: The top three financial resolutions that Americans made last year were to save more, pay down debt, and spend less.
If your resolutions centered on finances, chances are one or all of those rings a bell. And if you haven’t followed through on those resolutions, take heart – there’s almost half a year still remaining in which to get your finances on track. Here are five tips for turbocharging your resolutions, starting right now.
- Visualize your future with that resolution fulfilled. If you successfully saved more, or spent less, or paid down your debt, what effect would that have on your life? What would be possible that isn’t possible now? What would your life be like if you were actively creating a strong financial future for yourself? Really think about what life would be like with that future fulfilled.
- Create an affirmation. I am actively saving for my future, I am making smart decisions about spending to create financial stability, or I am creating freedom every day by paying down my debt, whatever will keep your resolution top of mind. Then post your affirmation somewhere that you will see and read it several times a day, such as your bathroom mirror or the refrigerator.
- Create a budget. A budget is like a roadmap, it tells you where you are going and documents where you’ve been. If you never created a budget, you are not alone. Surveys say that only 41% of Americans use a budget. Add your name to that statistic. A good place to start is with Mint, where you can create a budget that reflects your financial life and what’s important to you.
- Keep track of your progress. Don’t expect to reach the finish line overnight, but do revel in your progress week by week. Set your goal for the future, and an app such as Turbo can show you where you truly stand by giving you a big picture view of your finances. You’ll see your income, credit score and debt-to-income ratio, as you create a financial future you can be proud of.
- Put your financial life on automatic. Save more by having money going directly into your savings account from your paycheck. Save for retirement through payroll deductions so you don’t have to decide to contribute to your retirement each payday. Schedule your bills to be paid automatically each month so you’ll never incur a late fee or a ding on your credit report. Make your finances as automatic as breathing.